What is Mormonism giving us that we cannot get elsewhere? There are lots of wonderful benefits to being Mormon but very few of those benefits are unique to our religion. Consider this list of non-unique benefits:
- The Book of Mormon and other modern scriptures – Sorry, not unique. These can be found in other churches besides the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
- A wonderful family-friendly culture – Not unique.
- A community of devout and faithful Christians to associate with (aka our loving ward family) – Not unique.
- The blessing associated with tithes and offerings – Not unique. The blessings of tithes and offerings can be had by anyone in any Church as far as I can tell.
- The Blessings of the Word of Wisdom – Not unique. Lots of groups adhere to better and stricter health standards than we do.
- The Law of Chastity and other high moral standards – Not unique.
- Powerful preaching from the scriptures by our leaders as inspired by the Holy Ghost – Not unique. Have you heard some of the sermons pastors from other faiths give? They can teach the truth by the Spirit too.
- Home and visiting teaching – Not unique. Other churches make regular home visits too.
- Family Home Evening – Not unique. Other groups advocate a Family Night.
- A Lay Ministry – Not unique.
The list could go on, but I think you get the point. So then what is unique about Mormonism?
Well, it starts with Authority. What does that do? It allows us to bind things on earth that may remain bound in heaven for one thing. It also allows us to administer saving ordinances and give one another heavenly gifts. What kind of ordinances? Baptism, priesthood, and temple ordinances. What kind of gifts? The Gift of the Holy Ghost and endowments given us in the temple. Authority also allows us to be led by living prophets today.
But which of these things are actual benefits to us in our daily lives? I’m going on record to say that the fundamental benefit of Mormonism in our daily lives is the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Having modern prophets and temples is wonderful, but how would those things be without the Gift of the Holy Ghost to connect us directly to God? It is the Gift of the Holy Ghost that allows us to consistently have powerful and confirming spiritual witnesses in temples and listening prophets. It is that gift that allows us to be different. It is that gift that allows us to have regular, daily, even constant inspiration and revelation if we take full advantage of it. It is that gift that allows us to be a prophets, seers, and revelators within out own spheres and stewardships. (And it is that gift that powers the repeating four part pattern that will lead to our exaltation.)
So getting back to my title to this post – Are we wasting our Mormonism? I say that if we are not receiving revelation and inspiration from God on a regular basis then the answer is yes. If we are not exercising the gifts of the spirit regularly then the answer is yes. We can get the other good things the Church provides in other places. But we cannot get the Gift of the Holy Ghost elsewhere. If we are not utilizing this gift then we are wasting it. If we are wasting this gift then we are wasting our Mormonism.
And while we like to focus our energies on molehills, mountains like this subject seem to get little attention. Why is that?